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Laos eyes revenue from satellite signals
Publication Date : 24-09-2013
Companies are placing bookings to purchase a satellite signal to Laos when a satellite is launched in 2015, according to a government minister.
Speaking to media during the annual government meeting with provincial governors in Vientiane last week, Minister of Post and Telecommunications Hiem Phommachanh outlined the details of the project.
He said the government, in particular the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, is cooperating with the Chinese government to run the project and plans to launch the satellite in 2015.
The project will see satellites installed in two orbital slots, those being 126 degrees East and 128.5 degrees East.
The 126 degrees East orbital slot satellite is being funded by China's Chengdu Linhai Electronics Company.
Laos will hold a 30 per cent share in the project with the other 70 per cent to be owned by the Chinese company, Hiem said.
Chengdu Linhai Electronics Company signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Lao government las t year to cooperate on the construction of a satellite communications park in Laos.
The investors will spend US$960 million on the project, with the satellite set to operate for commercial purposes which will be owned by Laos.
“For this phase we have signed an agreement to rent a secondhand satellite owned by Belgium currently in the 55 degree position. It will be named the Lao Star 1,” Hiem said.
He was optimistic that this satellite would be moved to the 126 degree slot to cover Laos within the next few months, at which point they will be able to make a signal available to the public.
Hiem said a number of companies have signed up to purchase access to the signal.
At the same time, the government is looking to buy a new satellite. Laos would cease to rent the satellite from Belgium if the government can obtain a new one, Hiem said.
To procure and operate the 128.5 degrees East satellite, the government has been given a loan by the Chinese government, with this one to be known as the Lao Z 1, he explained.
The government hopes the satellites will prove to be a major income earner in the post and telecoms sector and contribute to socio-economic development, as their services will be in high demand.
Hiem said satellite technology is essential for every country and plays a major role in economic development.